Newsletter 2

Ayton’s Story Project Newsletter No 2 – January 2008

The second Ayton’s Story Project Newsletter is coming out sooner than expected, but events are moving quite rapidly. First, a Very Happy New Year to everyone. The main reason for this newsletter is to let you know about two important project meetings in January, and to get you thinking about how you might get involved in the project.

1 January meetings

There are two evening meetings in January, both at 7:30pm in the Friends’ Meeting House on High Green:

Wednesday 16 January 2008 Getting started
- Presentation of the different ways individuals might get involved in the project.
- Presentation on some of the specific topics
- Opportunity to informally talk with people interested in the same topic.
We hope that sufficient numbers of people will join each of the suggested topic groups to enable these groups to start their researches.

Wednesday 30 January 2008 Recording information
- Explanation of the ways in which we will be recording information.
- Opportunities for training and familiarisation with new techniques.
- Programme for 2008.

Please note that the dates for these meetings are different to those in the first newsletter, for which I apologise. There will be time to socialise over refreshments at both meetings.

2 Topics

You may remember that, at the Launch Meeting, there were long lists of topics that we might look into as part of the project. Since then quite a few people have expressed interest in a specific topic, and we can now say which topics we should be looking into during the first year of the project. The list below should give you an idea of the large range of aspects of Ayton’s story that can be looked at, but you should feel free to tackle something else within the scope of the project, if you so wish. Involvement is not restricted to one topic, and you may well change topics during the course of the project.

Working on sources (24 people so far)
These are the sessions on alternate Wednesdays at the North Yorkshire County Record Office in Northallerton. We are going through sources relevant to the village, with the intention of making them available to everyone on the project by posting them on the internet. This is especially important for the census returns and parish registers, which will be an important source for many of the investigations

Converting texts into MS Word documents (5 people so far)
This enables us to store texts in our computers and post them onto the internet.

Population studies (7 people so far)

This will have quite a few distinct strands to this, many suggested by Rob Lee in his presentation to us last year, for example births, marriages, deaths, and migration. Most of these studies have to wait until we have the census returns and the parish registers available on the internet, planned for easter time.

Ayton family histories (10 people)

House histories and development of housing (22 people)

A very popular topic, and one which will throw light on the development of the village as a whole. Ken Taylor has written a note about one aspect of this topic which he has asked me to include here.

CALIFORNIA is the exotic name given to that area of the village which grew up during the era of intensive mining activity at the end of the 19th Century, bounded roughly by Guisborough Road, Newton Road, Romany Road, John Street and Arthur Street It is an interesting mixture of large properties and terraced cottages, many of which must have a fascinating story to tell!

Many questions arise, for example:
When were the houses built and where did the influx of new residents come from?
Why was Romany Road once called Monkabecka Street?
Why was a Pilot’s Cottage built 10 miles from the sea?
Where was small lake located and what was it used for?
How many small businesses set up in the area?

Perhaps you know the answers or are interested in investigating the history of one or more of the houses in the area? Perhaps you have some tales to tell of families who grew up in the mining boom years? If so, we would love to hear from you, so why not get in touch with group members Ken Taylor on 722400 (e-mail: moc.tenretnitb|| or Liz Greenhalgh on 722192, and play your part in helping to unravel the history of this fascinating area of our village!!

Recording reminiscences from elderly residents (5 people)

Physical development of the village (4 people)

Working mainly from maps and the photographic archive, build up a visual presentation of how the village developed. There can be several case studies, perhaps starting with the area around Low Green. Presentations of ‘Then and Now’ scenes will be included in this topic.
The earliest development (4 people)

This involves studying the geology and contours of the land surface to try to deduce why people settled at Ayton and where the early settlements were located.

Education and school history (2 people)

Religion and church history (5 people)

Law and order (2 people)

Brick and brickmaking in Ayton

Cricket and football



Clubs and societies

Leather tanning

The River Leven and its mills

Linen and weaving


Commercial development, shops and businesses.

Public health

Utilities (water, gas, electricity)

Inns and Brewing

3 House History Day School

The North Yorkshire County Record Office in Northallerton is running a Day School on Saturday 9 February on House History investigations. There are sessions on documentary sources, on-line resources, how to examine and record buildings, and a case study on Easingwold. It runs from 10:00am to 4:00pm (registration from 9:00am) and costs £25, lunch and coffee included. It should be very relevant to our project. If you would like to go it is probably better to book yourself by contacting the NYCRO at Malpas Road, Northallerton DL7 8TB, telephone 01609 777585, or e-mail at ku.vog.skroyhtron|sevihcra#ku.vog.skroyhtron|sevihcra We will arrange car sharing for those going.

The Record Office is also running a series of short lunch-time presentations on the last Friday in each month. On 25 January, 12:30pm to 1:30pm, the subject is ‘How tithe awards can help researcher’.

4 Sessions at NYCRO

We have restarted these sessions after the Christmas break, and are now running an evening session, from 6:00pm to 8:30pm, in addition to the afternoons, 2:00pm to 4:30pm. They are on alternate Wednesdays from 9 January 2008. We realise that the evening times are early for people at work, but we are constrained by the opening hours of the Record Office, which closes at 8:45pm.

5 IT

We now have the support of Mike Newton to help us with our IT systems. We also work closely with other local history groups in sharing information on computer specifications and issues such as XP vs Vista. In a few weeks time we should be purchasing additional laptop computers which will be available to people working on the project. We will also be running a series of training events.

6 Wednesday morning meetings

Our group continues to meet on alternate Wednesday mornings, in the Friends’ Meeting House on High Green, starting at 9:30am. The next such meeting is on 23 January 2008. Everyone is welcome to come along to these meetings if they wish. At the moment our time tends to be taken up with project organization, but we will be spending more time on local history investigations as the Ayton’s Story project gets going under its own steam.

7 Historic Environment Day

North Yorkshire County Council holds its second Historic Environment Day on Saturday 16 February 2008 at the Hambleton Forum Building in Northallerton. There will be six presentations, all based in Yorkshire but none very local to Great Ayton. It costs £6 each, including refreshments but not lunch. Your neighbourhood contact will have details if you are interested.

Ian Pearce 10 January 200

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